The Reds were haunted in this same fixture in 2014, but Jordan Henderson’s performance ensured Liverpool clinched all three points against Chelsea this past Sunday, making him Maryam Naz’s The Offside Rule Player of the Week.
1) Attacking appetite
The 28-year-old is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance in his new advanced attacking position, clearly relishing the opportunity to play further up the pitch.
Thriving in a number eight role, the presence of Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum – a strong defensive midfield pairing – has given Henderson the license to thrill in and around the attacking third.
Indeed, the Englishman has had an assist in each of his last two Premier League games in this position, and it wasn’t all too surprising to see him act as provider again for Sadio Mané against Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Henderson chased down the ball and picked out his teammate who was loitering unmarked at the back post as the Reds attacked the Chelsea goal. A lofted ball was all that was needed to find Mané who was able to head home and make it 1-0 to Liverpool.
2) Pass master
Not only has Henderson played a more prolific role in attacking chances, but also in possession and the management of it.
Against the Blues, the stats proved his passing abilities had put the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante to shame, given that the England international had an 85% passing accuracy in the opposition half – the most from any player on the pitch.
Twice he was able to regain possession and pick out Roberto Firmino behind the Chelsea defence with calculated balls aimed to dissect their back four.
Henderson’s new-found freedom to make forward passes aided the Liverpool attack, but also posed a problem for the Chelsea midfield.
3) Defensive contributions
Playing further up the pitch had another benefit to the defensive aspect of Henderson’s play. Not only was be able to steal back possession in more threatening positions but was also able to nullify the attacking chances created by Chelsea’s midfield trio.
Indeed, the Liverpool midfielder was able to press Jorginho and co, and prevent them from utilizing the full range of their passing abilities.
What’s more, his spatial awareness around the attacking third meant he was better able to contain such passes and put an end to Chelsea’s attacking threats. Alongside Fabinho and Wijnaldum’s efforts, he enhanced the Reds midfield, and not purely because of his forward thinking.
4) Honorary mentions
The Reds captain was the pick for this week, but there was another whose performance warrants a mention in our Player of the Week accolade.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Lucas Moura completed a sublime hat-trick against the Premier League’s basement team Huddersfield. He scored three wonderful goals to aid Spurs’ top-four ambitions.
Follow Maryam on Twitter @mnaz98